Author Archives: Jim Brown

Who pays for rough roads? You do.

Roads in need of repair cost California drivers $61 billion (yes, billion) every year in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion, and the financial cost of traffic crashes, according to a report released this month by a national transportation research organization.

Here are five reasons why the condition of our roads matters for people on bikes:

– People on bikes are hurt in crashes caused by hitting or dodging potholes and broken pavement.

– People on bikes are hurt and killed in collisions with drivers who hit or try to dodge potholes and broken pavement.

– Rough roads discourage people from traveling by bike instead of driving, and that keeps too many cars on the road.

– People on bikes, like all other Californians, suffer the health effects of breathing air polluted by traffic congestion resulting from poor road conditions.

– Most people on bikes also drive cars.

Road maintenance is essential to providing safe conditions for bicycle transportation. We need adequate funding to keep our roads in good repair.

Last year California enacted the first increase in the state gas tax in a generation, with the goal of funding a backlog of roadway repairs and other improvements. Click here to read more about this new revenue source, including the local roadway projects being implemented throughout the state with this funding.

Protected bikeway on J Street at 21st Street in Midtown Sacramento

The protected bikeway on J Street in Midtown Sacramento, the 2 miles of buffered bike lanes being installed on Mack Road, and the proposed Two Rivers Trail in the American River Parkway near East Sacramento are prominent local projects funded with the new gas tax revenues.

A November 2018 ballot measure called Proposition 6, whose largest donors are 7 Republican congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, seeks to repeal the funding. SABA is part of the coalition of 300+ organizations, businesses and public agencies united against Prop. 6. Please consider joining the No on Prop. 6 coalition and also encouraging those in your network to do the same.

# # # # #

If you value this kind of information and SABA’s work in our region, please consider becoming a SABA member.

Improving Mack Road (a little)

The central city isn’t the only part of the city getting some bike love as the result of ongoing road resurfacing projects.

While bicyclists get used to new buffered bike lanes on 24th Street and Elvas Ave. and a new protected bikeway on J Street, this week City of Sacramento crews started work to resurface 2 miles of Mack Road between Valley Hi Dr. and the Morrison Creek bridge just west of Deer Creek Dr.

When the roadway striping is eventually repainted, the existing bike lane will be enhanced with a 2-foot painted buffer, like the new lanes recently installed on 24th Street and Elvas Ave. near downtown. The space for the buffer comes from narrowing the existing traffic lanes, which are more than 20 feet wide in places (the City’s minimum standard for the width of a striped traffic lane is 11 feet).

As with the recent bikeway improvements installed in Midtown, Curtis Park, Oak Park and East Sacramento, this project is funded with state gas tax revenues specifically earmarked for road rehabilitation projects. The City has a policy of installing planned bikeway improvements whenever a street is resurfaced. With striping already included in the resurfacing budget, adding bike lanes costs almost nothing.

Buffered bike lanes on 24th St. between 2nd Ave. and Broadway

The new buffered lane will add some lateral space between bikes and moving vehicles, making Mack Rd. a little more comfortable for bicycling. Accommodating bikes on Mack Road is important because it’s the only continuous east-west street for more than a mile to the north and south and it’s the area’s main destination for shopping as well as service jobs.

Will the new bike lanes solve the problems bicyclists experience on Mack? It will help slow down traffic, which is the main factor in fatal collisions throughout the city – even drivers will benefit from this project.  But the speed limit on most of Mack Road is 45 MPH, a speed at which nearly every collision involving a bicyclist or pedestrian is fatal.  A year ago a cyclist died in a collision on Mack Road at Summersdale Dr.

Speeding is a major problem on Mack Road. Like most of the main roads in the South Area, Mack Road has very long blocks between signalized intersections — more than a half-mile between the signals at Valley Hi Drive and Center Parkway and nearly three-quarters of a mile between the signals at Deer Creek Dr. and Brookfield Dr. at the west end of the project area. Long distances between signals and very wide traffic lanes make it easy and inviting to drive considerably faster than 45 MPH.

There are several alternatives to installing this type of bike lane that come with big caveats. A protected bikeway could provide a little more separation between bikes and cars, however, this kind of facility isn’t recommended for a street that has the number of driveways seen along Mack Rd. Plus, there is no curbside parking anywhere along Mack Road, so creating true physical separation would require installing a median, which is far beyond the City’s budget for a road resurfacing project.

A completely separated, off-street bike path might be the safest solution for a street this busy. Installing one would require the City to buy the necessary right-of-way on both sides of the street for at least 2 miles. That assumes that owners were willing to sell and the City could afford to buy, not including the cost of construction.

A cheaper and safer solution might be to look for an alternate route that parallels Mack, however, the nearest continuous east-west streets are Florin Rd. more than a mile to the north and Cosumnes River Boulevard about 1.5 miles to the south. The lack of continuous east-west streets other than these major arterial boulevards is a significant obstacle to improving mobility and safety for bicyclists throughout the South Area.

For now, enhancing the existing bike lanes on Mack Road is a worthy first step, recognizing that making arterial boulevards accessible for bicycling remains a huge, complicated and necessary challenge.

If you value this kind of information and SABA’s work in our region, please consider becoming a SABA member.

Bike Month After Party is May 31

Help us celebrate our region’s annual celebration of all things bicycle

Close out May is Bike Month 2018 at this happy hour party at SacYard Community Tap House in East Sacramento.

Enjoy a beer on us (choose from 24 taps), live music, great company and a pretty great raffle (see below). All proceeds support SABA’s mission to improve our region’s quality of life by advocating for people on bikes.

WHEN: Thursday, May 31, 2018, 5 to 7 PM

WHERE: SacYard Community Tap House, 1725 33rd St. between P St. and Stockton Blvd.

LIVE MUSIC: South Sac Jooks

FOOD: Available for purchase from Drewski’s and SacYard (includes vegan options)

TICKETS

$20 – A la carte: Individual admission. Includes 1 beer token good for any craft brew on tap

$30 – Main + side: Individual admission + your choice of SABA socks OR SABA Silipint silicone pint (white or black) OR SABA Klean Kanteen stainless steel pint

$40 – Combination platter: Individual admission + SABA socks + SABA beer pint (Silipint OR Klean Kanteen stainless pint)

Click here to purchase tickets.

SPONSORS

Titanium
Bay Area Bicycle Law

Carbon Fiber
Councilmember Jeff Harris
Councilmember Angelique Ashby
Sutter Health Valley Area

Steel
Vice Mayor Steve Hansen
Redfin Real Estate

In-kind
Deb Banks and Rivet Cycle Works
Jackie Musick and the Geared Up Bicycle Technology Program, Cooley Middle School, Roseville
Stace Cooper and Misfit Metals
Edible Pedal Bike Shop

Interested in being a sponsor? Click here to learn more.

Make your sponsor payment via PayPal:
Titanium$1,000
Carbon Fiber$500
Steel$250

Raffle

  • Vintage cruiser donated by Deb Banks/Rivet Cycle Works and restored by students at the Geared Up Bicycle Technology Program at Cooley Middle School in Roseville, with custom artwork by Stace Cooper/Misfit Metals and accessories by Rivet Cycle Works and Edible Pedal.
  • Gift basket from Chocolate Fish Coffee
  • 2 all-day e-bike rentals from Practical Cycle
  • $100 gift card plus thermal flask from Magpie Cafe
  • Dinner for 4 + RiverCats tickets in the Western Health Advantage VIP suite at Raley Field

Cooley Middle School students with the restored cruiser.

Before landing in Sacramento, this beauty spent 30 years in a garage in Aspen, Colorado, where it was rolled out once a year to be ridden in the local 4th of July parade.

  • Students in the Geared Up Bicycle Technology Program at Cooley Middle School in Roseville rebuilt and repainted the bike and added accessories from Rivet Cycle Works. Click here to read more about the program.

    Local artist Stace Cooper, owner of Misfit Metals, created one-of-a-kind badges for the tank.

Calgary goes big, with big results

As the City of Sacramento prepares the Downtown Specific Plan, which will provide high-level environmental review for projects to add at least 10,000 housing units in the Central City over the next 10 years, this is the first in a series of blog posts examining how other cities are dramatically improving bicycle transportation and roadway safety in urban neighborhoods.

Like Sacramento, the city of Calgary, Alberta on the Canadian prairie is shedding its image as a Cowtown. The city is denser than Sacramento, with a population nearly three times bigger. But with its flat landscape, a river running along one edge, a regular street grid and a railroad mainline running across the middle, downtown Calgary looks a whole lot like downtown Sacramento.

In the summer of 2015, Calgary – which already had one 7-block-long downtown cycle track (also known as a protected bike lane or separated bikeway) — took the unprecedented step of adding an entire network of cycle tracks in a single big project (green dotted lines on the map below). The longest, the 12th Ave cycle track, runs for about 1.3 miles, roughly the distance between 5th St. and 22nd St. in downtown Sacramento.

The Calgary City Council approved the network as a pilot project and 18 months later voted to make it permanent. The experiment paid off spectacularly. Three months after the network opened, bike traffic had increased by 95% on the streets with cycle tracks compared to year earlier. Overall, the project increased bicycle traffic into downtown Calgary by 40% in just about a year, including a larger share of women traveling by bike. Better still, the project came in more than $1 million under budget.

 

 

There are big differences between downtown Calgary and Sacramento, besides the weather. For one thing, downtown Calgary has wider streets than downtown Sacramento, which provides more space for bicycle improvements such as cycle tracks. Nevertheless, the Calgary experiment holds these lessons for Sacramento:

First, it shows that building an entire network all at once produces big results, very quickly. While the ridership increases seen in Calgary are fairly typical of cycle tracks installed in other cities, the impact is magnified when it involves multiple streets in a network, rather than a single street. Sacramento’s Bicycle Master Plan calls for increasing the rate of bike commuting to 7% of all commute trips by 2020, more than triple Sacramento’s current bike commuting rate of just under 2%. Nothing short of this kind of network will get us to that goal with less than three years to go.

Second, it shows that travel by bike works best when bike routes are continuous. This isn’t news to anyone who uses a bike for everyday transportation, but it’s yet another argument for continuous routes rather than the piecemeal, disconnected improvements we’re accustomed to seeing. Sacramento’s Bicycle Master Plan sets the goal of creating continuous “low-traffic-stress” bike routes throughout the city. Cycle tracks are designed to provide low-stress conditions on the busiest downtown streets and Calgary shows us how well that can work.

Third, it shows that a willingness to experiment can pay off. Experiments aren’t automatically more complicated technically, but they require courage, creativity and openmindedness at City Hall, as well as the ability (and will) to make the right investments. Creating that culture of experimentation may be the biggest challenge for a city like Sacramento.

As Sacramento plans for a future with a lot more downtown residents living in denser neighborhoods, bicycling (and walking and public transit use) will become a better, faster, cheaper way to make short trips – but only if the vision is bold and the commitment is big.

Read more about Calgary’s downtown cycle track project.

Take a ride through the downtown Calgary cycle tracks with Tom Babin, author of the Canadian bike blog, Shifter

Velo Ball is Thursday, Oct 5

Mark your calendar for the season’s best bike event: Velo Ball is Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, at the California State Railroad Museum.

Velo Ball is SABA’s annual fundraising gala and a celebration of the all things bicycle and the community of people who are helping create a cleaner, healthier, friendlier region for everyone through bicycling.

Auction: 3 nights in Mendocino for 6+ people

Surrounded by historic train equipment in the museum’s spectacular Roundhouse, Velo Ball guests will enjoy great local food from the Yisrael Family Farm, Post Oak BBQ and a Thai pop-up by chefs Adam Pechal and Chris Fairman. Local drinks are from Bike Dog Brewing in West Sacramento, Two Rivers CiderMichael David Winery in Lodi and Burly Beverages. Plus there’s music and dancing, and an auction of bike accessories, artworks, locally made treasures and unique experiences. Check out these incredible vacations to Lake Tahoe, Costa Rica and Bali!

Chef Adam Pechal

Chanowk Yisrael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this year Velo Ball will be the closing party for the California Bicycle Summit — celebrate along with some 150 advocates from throughout California. We’re excited to work with Unseen Heroes to create a memorable evening for everyone.

TICKETS

Tickets start at $25 each, with special packages for beer lovers, couples and groups of 8. Click here to buy now.

As we gather bikes, vacation packages and uniquely Sacramentan experiences and treasures for your silent auction,

 

SPONSORS

Many thanks to these generous Velo Ball sponsors:

Silver
California Bicycle Coalition
Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen

Bronze
ICF International Sacramento
Gary Brustin Bicycle Lawyer
University Transportation and Parking Services, Sacramento State
Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli
Sacramento City Councilmember Jay Schenirer

Show the community how your business aligns with our goal of improving the region’s quality of life by becoming a Velo Ball sponsor. Download the sponsor overview or contact us for more information.

More bikes on more of the ARP

Off-pavement bicycling advocate Bob Horowitz interviewed in August 2016 about the pilot program.

The Sacramento County Recreation and Parks Commission has given its final approval for implementation of the off-paved path cycling pilot in the Woodlake and Cal Expo areas of the American River Parkway near downtown Sacramento. The 3-year pilot program will open existing unpaved maintenance roads to people on bikes beginning in September.

The June 22 vote concludes a 15-year effort led by Bob Horowitz of the Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition or FATRAC to accommodate off-pavement bicycling within the American River Parkway master plan. The pilot program has been part of the Parkway plan for the past decade. The County seemed especially persuaded to implement it by the potential for giving kids from nearby neighborhoods more places to ride. Off-pavement cyclists of all ages represent a large new group of potential Parkway stewards and supporters.

Off-pavement riding is already permitted in the Parkway east of Hazel Ave., which is administered by California State Parks.

The pilot program does not authorize bikes on existing equestrian paths, except in one short segment to be shared. Bicycling on all other equestrian paths in the Parkway west of Hazel Ave. remains prohibited.

The implementation plan approved by the commission includes measures for monitoring environmental and other impacts over the next three years, including damage to vegetation at the edges of the trails, whether informal trails or technical features such as jumps or berms are illegally constructed, trash such as water bottles and wrappers, and security as well as conflicts among trail users.

By introducing more active uses in this part of the Parkway, the pilot program will begin to help discourage illegal camping and reverse the related impacts of drug activity, trash, human waste, off-leash dogs and wildfires. These benefits also make the Parkway safer for those who bike, walk and run along the paved Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail.

Especially in light of the recent violent confrontations in this part of the Parkway, safety remains a significant concern for everyone. Ensuring the safety of new and existing trail users will require additional County funding for ranger patrols. The implementation plan includes funding for added security as well as signs and trash containers. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will also be asked to allocate more funding to rangers and enforcement activities throughout the entire Parkway.

Potential conflicts with equestrians have also been central to the discussion of implementing the pilot program. While equestrians very rarely use this part of the Parkway, the County will measure the success of the pilot program in part by whether there are fewer bicyclists riding illegally on the equestrian trails. Continued or increased bicycling on the equestrian trails is likely to keep the County from opening more areas of the Parkway to off-pavement bicycling.

As the County rolls out the program, watch for more information from SABA and FATRAC about rules for trail users and other details, including the exact opening date.

 

Frank Cirill, 1922-2017

The American River Parkway is one of the region’s most important natural and recreational amenities. If riding, walking or paddling along the Parkway is part of what makes the region special for you, you owe a debt of thanks to Frank Cirill, who passed away in January. Frank’s life and memory will be celebrated in Carmichael on Saturday, June 10. The remembrance below was written his daughter Lisa Cirill.

Protector of the Parkway

frankcFrank Cirill, a longtime supporter and partner of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, passed away peacefully of natural causes at the age of 94 earlier this year. A bicycle commuter and race competitor, Frank was known as the “Protector of the American River Parkway”.  He devoted his life to preserving the American River Parkway against development threats and ensuring adequate flow in the lower American River.

Frank served as Chief Mate aboard Merchant Marine liberty ships during World War II and throughout the Marshall Plan.  He was an engineer and construction estimator from 1950 to 1987.  The highlight of his career was serving as chief estimator with Continental Heller Construction and overseeing the $68 million restoration of the State Capitol from 1975 to 1981.

In 1968, Frank began to serve as a board member of the Save the American River Association.  He served as SARA’s President from 1978 through 1994 and later as President Emeritus.  “For nearly half a century, Frank Cirill did more than any other person to preserve and enhance the Parkway’s ecosystem, wildlife habitat, waterway and recreation resources,” said Stephen Green, SARA President.  Frank was a guiding light for the 1976, 1984 and 2006 American River Parkway Plans.  For 21 years he successfully fought the East Bay Municipal Utility District from taking American River water from the Folsom South Canal.

Frank was an avid outdoorsman, swimmer, fly fisherman, runner, bicyclist, kayaker and Nordic skier. Among other endeavors, Frank served on the County Parks and Recreation Commission from 1973 to 1978, founded the Sacramento Southside Striders running group in 1975, co-founded the Capitol Nordic Skiers cross-country ski club in 1980, and after designing the original race course, spent decades on the organizing committee as Race Director and Race Director Emeritus of the Eppie’s Great Race.  He was that race’s first Ironman in the age 60-plus division and he was a Masters Class Nordic Ski Champion.

Frank continued running 20 miles a week on the Parkway until he was 86.  His last voyage on the Pacific was at 88 when he served as a working crew member aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain.  Frank then continued to stay fit through the remainder of his life by using a stationary bicycle.  A burial at sea near the Golden Gate Bridge from aboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien liberty ship was held for his immediate family.

Frank is survived by his wife of 56 years, Doris; his son Curtis Cirillo (Soussan Cirillo), his daughter Lisa Cirill (Kevin Shirley) and three grandchildren.  A celebration of Frank Cirill’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, 2017, along the American River’s edge at the picnic area across from the golf course clubhouse at Ancil Hoffman Park, 6700 Tarshes Drive, Carmichael, CA  95608.  Remembrances in his honor can be made to the Save the American River Association at www.sarariverwatch.org/ways_to_give.

Big Day of Giving: 6 ways to give

Bike LoveDoes May is Bike Month have you feeling the bike love? Then please consider sharing some of that love with SABA on Thursday, May 4, the Big Day of Giving, our region’s annual 24-hour fundraising challenge.

Out of more than 500 nonprofits participating this year, SABA is the only bike organization. If bicycling matters you, here is what you support when you donate to SABA:

– Advocacy for streets and bike infrastructure that are safe and convenient for travel by bike
– Input on proposed development projects to ensure access for people on bikes
– A voice for people on bikes in projects like the City of Sacramento’s Vision Zero action plan
– Support for neighborhood-led planning efforts to improve conditions for trips by bike
– Partnerships with bike-friendly businesses, agencies and organizations
– Services like Bike Valet and other activities that support people who travel by bike

Read about our 2016 accomplishments here.

Last year we raised $12,008 and we’re hoping to raise $15,000 this year. Can you help us get there? This year, you have more ways than ever to make a donation:

Online

– Donate through SABA’s Big Day of Giving webpage.
– Donate directly to SABA through the SABA website.

By phone

– Call the Big DoG phone bank at 916-921-7723 during business hours on Thursday and donate with a credit or bank card.
– Call SABA at 916-444-6600 between 9 AM and 4 PM on Thursday to donate with a credit or bank card.

Personal delivery

– Drop off your donation by card, check or cash to the SABA office in downtown Sacramento at 909 12th Street, between I and J streets, between 9 AM and 4 PM. Please call first.
– Come to the Big Day of Giving Concert Celebration at Camp Pollock, 6-8PM, where we’ll be ready to accept your donation by card, check or cash. (We’re also partnering with City Bicycle Works for a meet-up bike ride to Camp Pollock. Join us!)

Logo-Icon-Date-2tealorange

Driver kills Foothill Farms boy

Tragic news from the Foothill Farms area: This morning a 13-year-old boy riding to school on the sidewalk was killed by a driver leaving a parking lot on Hillsdale Blvd. near Palm Ave. Our thoughts are with the victim, the two boys riding with him, and everyone else involved.

The victim was riding his bike northbound on the sidewalk on the west side of Hillsdale when a driver exiting a parking lot hit him while turning onto southbound Hillsdale. The Bee story did not report on the driver’s speed or whether he stopped before entering Hillsdale. The California Vehicle Code requires drivers to look both ways before leaving a driveway.

Hillsdale Blvd.

Southbound Hillsdale Blvd., just north of Palm Ave. in Foothill Farms. The victim was struck and killed in the driveway on the right.

In a statement to The Sacramento Bee, the CHP – North Sacramento spokesperson emphatically blamed the death on the boy’s failure to wear a bike helmet, as required by law, and claimed that he’d still be alive if he had been wearing a helmet, but didn’t offer any evidence to back up the assertion. We independently spoke with the CHP North Sacramento office, where an officer confirmed that the collision investigation would not be completed for at least 30 days and that the coroner had not issued an official cause of death.

The spokesperson’s statement fits a pattern we’ve observed with this particular CHP office, where spokespeople tend to offer conclusions and assign blame (typically focusing on the victim, not the driver) when investigations have barely begun. We’ll request the investigation report when it’s available, to see what we can learn about the actual circumstances of the crash.

This collision also fits a pattern we see among fatal collisions in Sacramento County: nearly all of them occur in suburban North Area and South Area neighborhoods on multi-lane arterial streets with long distances between traffic signals and pedestrian crossings – conditions that encourage speeding and make bicycling in the street even more uncomfortable, especially for younger children. The half-mile between signals and crosswalks on Hillsdale Blvd. may also help explain why the children were riding northbound on the sidewalk, instead of trying to cross Hillsdale to reach the northbound bike lane.

While riding on sidewalks presents unique, well-understood hazards, it can often be a safer option for younger children than riding on a busy street like Hillsdale. It doesn’t appear that the neighborhood surrounding the Foothill Ranch Middle School has designated, marked bike routes that would enable children to avoid riding on Hillsdale.

We’ll continue to monitor the CHP’s investigation and share more information when it is available.

 

 

Make the most of your new bike

Christmas bikeIf a new bike arrived at your house this holiday season, here are some tips to make sure you’re ready to roll.

bike-mechanic1. Get it checked. If your bike came from a big-box store, have your local bike shop check it over before it’s ridden. Walmart, Target and Kmart sell more bikes than any other retailer, but the employees who assemble those bikes aren’t bike mechanics. Common assembly errors include parts that aren’t fully tightened and parts that should’ve been lubed but weren’t. A bike shop mechanic can check your new bike to make sure it’s ready to ride.

Click here to find a bike shop near you. And once your bike is in good shape, click here to learn how to keep it that way with simple maintenance steps you can do at home.

2. Use your head. State law requires any bicyclist under age 18 to wear a helmet. A helmet can help keep an adult head safer too. Click here for instructions on how to wear a helmet properly. And click here to review the rules of the road for people on bikes.

Right-locking-technique-1024x7683. Protect your ride. Compared to the cost of replacing your bike, buying a good bike lock is cheap insurance. Click here to learn more about the best types of locks and how to use them correctly.

4. Show that it’s yours. Sacramento residents can register their bikes for free with the Sacramento Police Department – click here to get started. You can also register for free with the National Bike Registry. Or ‘self-register’ by writing down the make, model, type and color of your bike, attach receipts if you have them, and take a selfie with your bike.

5. Go have some fun! Click here for links to maps showing bike routes throughout the region, including streets with bike lanes and off-street bike paths.

American_River_Trail.0